Part 1: Introduction

If you’re looking for an excellent medical program at a university that doesn’t have cut-off scores for tests, The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago is worth a look. Stritch isn’t among the Ivy Leagues, which reduces the stress and pressure applicants will feel while applying. However, it still has an excellent medical program that will prepare you for a successful career. 

The Stritch School of Medicine is a great school to balance out your applications. Requirements aren’t as high as Perelman or Georgetown, but Stritch still requires excellence from prospective students. If your best doesn’t quite reach Ivy League levels, but you’re still an excellent student, then Stritch might be perfect for you. 

The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University offers a diverse student body and multiple degree programs to choose from–all of which we’ll be looking at today. As you read through this article, you’ll also see admission statistics, program requirements and the essay questions that Stritch asks applicants. We’ll examine the essay questions to determine the best way to respond, as well as provide sample essays to help get your creative juices flowing. By the time you finish reading through this article and implementing what we teach you in to your application, you’ll be ready to impress the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago. 

Part 2: Medical Programs at Loyola University Chicago

The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago offers the standard MD degree to crown you a Doctor of Medicine. They also offer:

  • MD/Ph.D. Program
  • MD/Master of Public Health Program
  • MD/Master of Art Bioethics Program
  • MD/Master of Business Administration

MD Degree Program

The Stritch School of Medicine offers the standard, four-year medical degree program, but with a unique setup.

Instead of having Year One comprised of all the regular first-year courses together, Loyola University Chicago has students immerse themselves in one course at a time. Year One students study:

  • Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Immunology

Year Two students learn: 

  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Mechanisms of Human Disease
  • Behavioral Science

Year Three students enroll in clerkships in:

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • Family Medicine
  • Obstetrician/Gynecology

Year Four students take two sub-internships. Both are in a hospital setting and require students to experience low-pressure and high-pressure situations. They’ll experience everything from a routine visit to a patient who is in cardiac arrest. Students will also take some elective courses toward the end of their schooling.

MD/Ph.D. Program

As the name suggests, students who apply to the MD/Ph.D. program want to become Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Philosophy. Becoming a Doctor of Medicine will prepare students to treat a wide variety of medical problems. Doctors of Philosophy understand medicine on a more scientific scale. For more information on the MD/Ph.D. program, check out their brochure

MD/Master of Public Health Program

To be accepted into this program, you’ll need acceptance into both the Stritch School of Medicine and the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health. This program is for students who want to become physician-researchers or physician-practitioners. These degrees go beautifully together. While your MD degree will help you effectively treat patients, your degree in Public Health will give you a broader understanding of how illness affects populations. This dual degree will prepare you to practice healthcare at multiple levels.

MD/Master of Art in Bioethics Program

As another dual-degree program that Loyola University Chicago offers, students complete the MA in Bioethics Program entirely online. Graduates of this program will be well-versed in the ethics related to various healthcare situations. For more information on this program, go here

MD/Master of Business Administration Program

An MBA is an ideal degree to have along with your MD degree. Many MBAs are hospital presidents, so this degree might help you advance more quickly in your field. The MBA program teaches students how to run a business effectively. For more information, go here

Cost of Tuition for The Stritch School of Medicine

If you’re going to medical school on a tight budget, Stritch will be far more ideal than the Ivy Leagues that run at a hundred grand a year. Loyola University Chicago recommends that students budget a total of $86,000 per year, with $59,800 making up tuition. 

Loyola University Chicago does have need-based and merit-based scholarships. They recommend submitting your FAFSA and applying for in-house scholarships. 

Part 3: Class Statistics for The Stritch School of Medicine

  • Class of 2022
  • 15,000+ applications
  • 165 new students

These stats place Loyola University Chicago at an 11 percent acceptance rate, which is over double what most Ivy Leagues accept. 

For the Class of 2022:

  • 3.5 undergrad science GPA
  • 3.6 overall undergrad GPA
  • 510 mean score for the new MCAT

Requirements for Getting In

To be considered for the Stritch School of Medicine, you need a bachelor’s degree. A higher level of education, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, will also be considered for admission. If you earned your degree (be it bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) in a country other than the United States, you need to take a year of courses here before applying. 

Regardless of what education you have received or are receiving, the following credits will need verification on your AMCAS application:

30 credits total, comprised of:

  • Eight credits in Physiology, Biology or Biochemistry
  • Eight credits in Chemistry, with three credits in Organic Chemistry
  • One lab credit in Biology
  • One lab credit in Chemistry

Stritch School of Medicine will accept up to 6 AP Credits. 

Your Primary and Secondary Applications

There are two applications to submit as part of your medical school application process. They are known as your primary and secondary applications. 

You’ll submit your primary application to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This application is time-consuming. You’ll need to fill out the following information in complete detail.

  • Primary Application
  • Background Information
  • Coursework and Official Transcripts
  • Work and Activities
  • Letters of Evaluation
  • Personal Statement

The good news is that, unlike your secondary application, you’ll only fill out and submit this application once. Every medical school which you’ll apply to has access to your AMCAS application. 

You’ll submit your secondary application to each medical school to which you’re applying. The most vital part of all your secondary applications combined is the essay section. Some students enjoy this section if they like writing, while others dread it. This section is crucial because it allows your personality to show. While your personal statement, work and activities, and background information provide a lot of information about your work, they don’t say a whole lot about you. But don’t worry. When we reach the essay section of this guide, we will walk you through how to write each essay. 

Timeframe for Your Application

While it’s vital to pay attention to deadlines, you should submit your applications as early as possible. Many universities, including Stritch School of Medicine, use a rolling admissions system. They receive applications, review them, call some applicants in for interviews and send out acceptance letters. They go through this process multiple times until they’ve considered all applications and sent acceptance letters to the students of their choice. So, the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll know if you’re attending the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago.  

The AMCAS application opens early in the summer, meaning you can submit it as early as June. In 2020, November 2nd was the deadline for submitting your primary application. 

Stritch’s supplemental (or secondary) application opened on July 10th and closed on December 11th. 

The Stritch School of Medicine hasn’t updated their website with deadlines for the 2021 application cycle, but you can expect the application to open in the summer and close in the fall. 

Part 4: Putting in Your Personality: Your Secondary Application

Again, before you freak out about writing your secondary essays, know that we will walk you through the whole process. We’ll show you each question that the Stritch School of Medicine will ask you. We’ll explain how to answer each question and provide sample essays to help get your creative juices flowing. Additionally, we offer consulting services for your secondary application. Click here for more information if you think you need the help. You could already be a fantastic writer in need of a confidence boost. You can easily schedule a consultation with us right on our website. 

Now, you don’t need to be a perfect writer. Your focus needs to be on answering the questions correctly and to the best of your ability. 

Stritch School of Medicine uniquely requires prospective students to answer questions with a minimum of 100-word responses. There is no limit to how much you can write. We recommend writing 250- to- 500-word responses to most questions. The admissions committee has a lot of applications to go through, so if your response is much longer than that, they might skim over parts of your essay. We want to avoid that. 

Let’s take a look at Stritch School of Medicine’s essay questions for this year.

Question #1 
Please describe why you want to spend your career in medicine. Explain how the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine will aid you in your process of becoming an MD. (100+ words)

This question combines “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and “Why Loyola?” in one. Make sure to clearly answer why you want to be a doctor, and integrate how Loyola University Chicago will help you achieve your goal. 

Here’s an example:

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP). This means that my blood doesn’t clot properly, and I have to avoid steroid pain relievers like Advil. ITP doesn’t run in my family, so no one knew what was wrong, but everyone was scared for me. I wasn’t allowed to play sports because of the risk of bleeding from an injury. I spent a lot of time in the hospital, being monitored while I did school work in my hospital bed. Nights were especially lonely. 

My comfort came in the form of the overnight nurses who kept me company. One nurse, David, could tell that I was lonely, so he spent a few minutes with me cheering me up. I looked forward to when his shifts began every night because I knew he would brighten my night. Soon, Arielle, the nurse who was on duty when David was off, became my friend. We had a lot in common and, when things were slow, she would play games with me. 

If it wasn’t for David and Arielle, I’m not sure how I would have gotten through those long, lonely nights when sleep was hard to come by, and visiting hours were over. As a future doctor, I want to provide that kind of care for my patients. I want them to know that, even when visiting hours are over, they are never alone. I firmly believe that the Stritch School of Medicine will provide me with the education I need to provide that level of care to my patients through its focus on caring for the individual instead of just treating the disease.

In her own words, this applicant described the Stritch School of Medicine’s mission through her own experience without explicitly stating so. The admissions committee will see that and recognize her understanding.

Question #2
Stritch School of Medicine adheres to the Jesuit tradition, which considers social justice to be “by virtue of [each person’s] inherent human dignity.” Explain your experiences with social justice and how you will strive to implement social justice into your time as a student at Stritch School of Medicine, as well as in the future in your medical practice. (100+ words)

I’ve seen social justice obstructed in several different ways. One of the examples that stands out to me was from my freshman year at college. I lived in the dorms on campus. For whatever reason, you had to be under 25 to live in the dorms. After that, there were off-campus apartment complexes available to you. But those apartment complexes put people like Jacie at a disadvantage. Jacie was 27 and “finally getting to start college,” as she put it. Jacie was on the Autism Spectrum and had spent every year since she graduated high school preparing for college. I’d heard about the Autism Spectrum, but I didn’t know much about it. I thought it was really cool that she was so determined to get her education.

Jacie had a major problem standing in her way. She was too old to live in the dorms, but she couldn’t drive. The apartments that were close to campus were too expensive for her, and the apartments that were in her price range were too far of a walk from campus. Jacie had Tourette Syndrome, so she couldn’t ride a bike. 

After everything Jacie had been through, it seemed so stupid that her age would hold her back from attending college. There was a legitimate reason why every alternative wouldn’t work for her. She needed to live in the dorms so she could easily walk to her classes every day. It was that simple. Only, it wasn’t at all simple because Housing didn’t care. 

I decided that someone needed to care. I scheduled an appointment with the head of the Housing department and volunteered to be Jacie’s roommate. I spoke with the woman for nearly 30 minutes. She explained to me that the housing department made the rule because women older than 25 tended to break the rules. They would often entice other girls to break the dorm room rules, like curfew. I explained that Jacie was different. She had a disability and had been fighting to get into college for years. She was not going to jeopardize her chances of successfully completing college by partying. I committed to watching out for Jacie.

Ultimately, the woman agreed to let Jacie live in the dorms, under the condition that we didn’t advertise her age to anyone else. Jacie moved in with me. Watching Jacie adapt to college life and take her schoolwork as seriously as she did inspired me to be a better student. 

It also made me a better student. Jacie had a strict routine, including a 10 p.m. bedtime and a 7 a.m. alarm. At first, this was hard for me to adjust to because I’d have to do my homework in the lounge. But I ultimately got on Jacie’s schedule. It turned out to be a better schedule. I had more energy and was able to complete most of my homework during the day.

I’ll never forget the day Jacie came home with her letter from the Dean, informing her that she’d made the Dean’s List for her grades. Her Tourette Syndrome was acting up that day, so she was uncontrollably shaking, and her autism caused her to speak too loudly. But her excitement inspired me to be better and do better, in my personal and scholastic achievements.

I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to meet Jacie and to stand up for her. But most of all, I’m thankful for the positive impact she made in my life.

Question #3
Part of the Jesuit tradition that we follow includes providing medicine to those who do not have medical insurance and cannot afford to pay for all of their medical costs. Share an experience with the underserved in the medical community and how it affected your desire to be a doctor. Tell us what you learned about yourself OR what has prevented you from having this type of experience thus far. (100+ words) 

I had the opportunity to volunteer at Jewish Family Services the summer after I graduated from high school. The people who came to JFS were often in very low-income situations, if not in poverty. You could see the embarrassment in their faces when they came in for help. Providing low-cost or free treatment for them was a privilege. If it weren’t for organizations like JFS, many people would go without the medical treatment they need. 

During my time there, I volunteered at the friend desk. So, I saw patients when they checked in and when they scheduled follow-up appointments. When they arrived, I often saw sadness, weariness and sometimes even despair in their eyes. I wasn’t allowed to ask them what was wrong because I wasn’t a healthcare provider yet. But I felt their sorrow in my heart. It was a privilege for me to let their provider know that they were there and to make sure they had follow-up appointments scheduled so that their help wouldn’t run out. 

The time I spent volunteering at JFS furthered my desire to become a doctor, so I could do more to help the underserved in my community. The check-in desk was a fine place to start, but being the doctor providing help is where I want to finish. 

Unfortunately, some prospective doctors are only in it for the money. These doctors only want to treat patients with insurance because insurance companies fork out a lot of money. Seeing uninsured patients at a discounted rate could dramatically impact a doctor’s profits. Loyola University Chicago is a private university with a specific mission, and the Stritch School of Medicine only wants to accept students who will carry out that mission. 

This student’s experience at Jewish Family Service taught him what Loyola University Chicago hopes to instill in its students. That’s why this essay works in response to question three.

Question #4
What is your leadership style, and how have you used it so far? (100+ words)

My leadership style is leading by example. I think the most important aspects of leadership include honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic. If I’m honest with everything I’m doing, then those serving under me will see that. If I follow through with what I say and work hard to accomplish what I promise, they will also see that. I don’t believe that being a great leader means that you have a perfect team, but it does increase your chances of a cohesive unit that works well together. 

At my job, I was in charge of a work party for our store manager, who was celebrating 20 years with our company. We only had 30 minutes to celebrate, so we decided to get her a store-bought cake and have Jimmy John’s catered. Unfortunately, the two assistant managers in charge of buying the cake and food were out sick. 

As the cosmetics department manager, I told my girls to fill in for each other when someone was out sick. Customers still needed to be taken care of, and there was no one better for the job. When the girls in my department found out that Angelina and Jennie were out sick, they filled in for them by purchasing the cake and food. Everything was already there when I arrived for the day. I didn’t even realize that Angelina and Jennie were out sick until an hour before the party. A fellow manager told me that my girls had taken care of it. 

I felt so proud of my team for stepping up to the plate and making sure we celebrated Gloria.

This answer works because the prospective student was in a leadership position and appropriately shows how her employees followed her example. She has established a system that works that she will continue to use. 

Question #5
Share a challenging experience that happened in a personal or professional setting. Exclude academic settings. Describe how you remedied the situation. (100+ words)

At my community college, I was the president of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society that recognizes students with outstanding grades. I served as the secretary. I recorded the minutes for our meetings on the laptop assigned to the secretary. Unfortunately, that laptop died, and we didn’t have the funds in our budget to host meetings and events throughout the semester AND buy a new laptop. We made do as best we could. I began recording notes on my personal laptop, but the program we used wasn’t free, and we weren’t allowed to download it onto a personal computer. We did the best we could, but we really needed a new computer.

After several months of frustration, we were fed up. In one of our meetings, we found a laptop that only cost $300 and was compatible with the software we needed to use. We decided to hold a fundraiser to raise the money. We banded together and baked chocolate chips cookies and fudge brownies. We held the fundraiser at each campus that our community college had. We were able to raise enough money to buy the new computer, along with an insurance plan in case it broke. 

While dealing with this situation was stressful and unideal, we came together as an honor society. We learned how to problem solve and found ethical ways to meet our societal requirements.

The great thing about those essay questions is that you can write answers based on everyday experiences. The question about serving the medically underserved is the only question that involved a volunteer experience. If you’re looking for a volunteer experience to write about in one of your essays, International Medical Aid offers opportunities in South America, East Africa and the Caribbean. 

Part 5: Your Interview at Loyola University Chicago

The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago employs a unique interview process. They don’t have a specific day of the week when they interview applicants. They will contact you and arrange an interview at a mutually convenient time. This process is very different from the Ivy Leagues that expect you to block out days of the week for months at a time to claim your coveted interview spot. 

With COVID-19 still being a threat, the Stritch School of Medicine currently conducts all interviews and interview-day activities virtually. On their website, you can find the following information.

Stritch does everything they can to help you prepare for your virtual interview day. Because, while COVID-19 has ruined a lot, it doesn’t get to ruin your medical school experience. On your interview day, you’ll receive expanded information from the documents linked above. 

The Stritch School of Medicine conducts interviews using the semi-closed file interview and the closed-filed interview formats. The semi-closed file interview means that the interviewer has limited access to your application information, which helps prevent bias and lets you make a good first impression. The closed-filed interview means that the interviewer has not seen your AMCAS or secondary application information. 

Here at International Medical Aid, we offer interview practice sessions to calm your nerves and boost your confidence. We have multiple dates and times available, so preparing with us beforehand should easily fit into your schedule.

Conclusion

We wish you the best of luck with your medical school applications! We know it’s a lot to cover, which is why we recommend beginning your applications as soon as they are open. Don’t try writing all your essays in one day. That’s enough to exhaust anyone. We recommend writing one essay at a time, taking a break and then re-reading it and editing it with fresh eyes. It’s also good to ask someone else to read your essay for you, to catch any mistakes you might miss. Remember, Internationl Medical Aid is also here to help.

As you decide what schools to apply to, keep your eye on our blog, where we offer free guides to medical schools like Georgetown University School of MedicineYale School of MedicinePerelman School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

We wish you well, no matter where you are on your journey. If you’re considering medical school for the first time, don’t let the lengthy process scare you away. Know that it will be well worth your time to become a doctor. If you’re applying to medical schools as we speak, remember to breathe. It’s not as hard as you think it is. You just have to get started.